Which One of These CRMs is Not Like The Others? (Hint, It Is the One That Adds in the Fun…)
When I last wrote about WHY a CRM, I touched on WHY we in media are a bit different. It’s not just because we have to navigate around a traffic director who isn’t thrilled that she has to redo the log on a Friday afternoon, or the talent who can’t (and WON’T) do appearances on Saturdays. We are mostly different than other sales industries because we have had less accountability for ourselves and to others for a much longer time; and because sales philosophies can vary so widely, even within a station group.
Pharmaceutical sellers are accustomed to accounting for their every working moment. They spend time working on those gatekeepers, because their time with the actual prescription writer will be measured in minutes. There is less reliance on individual client needs and more on face to face calls and relationships at all levels.
Sellers of real estate become masters at asking a lot of, and the right, questions. How many bedrooms/baths/closets? Location? Yard size? They are looking at helping their customers fill a need, but a lot of curb appeal may overcome one less bathroom. Relationships must be made and established quickly and are often short term. Finely honed negotiation skills are a must.
Car guys and gals have only minutes to make a connection, and have to ask the right questions to steer their prospect to a buy. The sales cycle is generally short, so they must act and sell their benefits and those of their cars quickly while the buying window is open. While negotiation skills are also important, there is less Q and A than their real estate counterparts, and relationships may again be more disposable.
So now that I have thoroughly offended all of my friends who are in pharma, real estate and automotive, here are my thoughts on why we in media sales are different, and therefore need a different CRM system. The answer? Because we are all of the above and none of the above. While one of my pet peeves when I was hiring future media sellers was that, when asked why media sales they would reply, “Because I think it would be fun!” the fact is it IS fun. I haven’t heard too many of my pharma friends (like, NONE) say it is fun. Rewarding on many levels and interesting, yes. But we in media sales DO get to meet interesting people; we get to know about things first; we get to sample; we get to entertain. We can be very well compensated. We have lots of customers who become friends.
But with all that comes the accountability of those sellers of pharma/real estate/auto. Making sales drives our business, like our friends in auto. Making long-term relationships to get renewals and referrals is a prescription to success, like our pharma friends. And asking the right questions is the foundation to solving a client’s marketing problems, like our real estate friends. Couple that with the fact that some broadcast entities and managers believe in tracking numbers of calls to get new business, while others focus on quality of the call and the steps to getting a contract. Even other groups are a hybrid!
For a CRM to be most effective in media sales, it must be able to track and assist in all kinds of selling philosophies. Ideally, it should be somewhat customizable to reflect not only each group’s and managers accountability indexes, but their unique verbiage as well. The CRM designed to count your minutes in front of a client may leave out crucial email exchanges. The CRM designed to show only sales funnel data may leave out important client relationship-building at a sporting event. The CRM designed only to show “ups” may leave out the necessary steps needed to make a sale.
So embrace your CRM, media sales people. It is there to help you. Embrace a media focused CRM if you have it. It is there to make you a sales professional like our pharmaceutical/real estate/automotive friends are. Add a little fun in there, and you will be a true MEDIA sales professional.